The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is an ancient Indian text describing a discourse of Shiva and his mistress Devi1 on the nature of existence. Devi Asks:
O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully,
above space and time,
names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!
Shiva Replies :
1 also called Shakti
Shiva Replies :
As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down -- through both these turns, realize.
This meditation is not about the gap but about the turning. What does this mean? Turning.
The cycle of one breath is the in and out breath combined, not as some people erroneously think; counting breath-in as one breath and counting breath-out as another. Somewhere during this circle there is a turn. Almost impossible to pinpoint; but that is what you seek.
Imagine the famous Möbius strip (see illustration below) as your breath cycle. Along the complete breath the in breath turns and becomes the put breath, just like the ants can mysteriously walk on both side of the strip without ever really crossing over.
The Möbius strip one side is the breath-in and the other side is the Breath-out.
During meditation focus on the turn, because at the turn briefly there is no-breath. Oxygen is used up breath is ready to flow out. This out breath can still save lives because it still has some oxygen. Shiva points out this brief transitional moment, if you can capture and concentrate then you understand the mysteries offered by this Tantra.
Realize, Shiva says.
This appears to basically be the practice of Pranayama ? The Möbius strip is a nice twist. (pun intended)
Thanks, what intrigued me about this collection of techniques is that they have something to all personalities. The Buddha achieved his AHA moment using breath technique (focusing of the gap) not the turn.
The following is a link on Pranayama from a Christian perspective (I just stumbled onto it). It seemed relevant.
To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds because breath is the bridge from our body to our mind. There is a system of nerves which provides a direct connection between the brain and the heart. These nerves, called the sympathetic nervous system, stimulate receptors in the heart that make it beat faster or slower. Breathing techniques decrease sympathetic nervous system stimulation and thus produce a calming effect on the mind and the body. Because breath is aligned to both, it is the tool which can bring them together in peace and calm.
The concept of prana closely resembles the Hebrew ruach (the breath of God), the Greek pneuma, and the Latin spiritus, representing a combination of breath and spirit, such as the breath breathed by God into Adam. It is the animating, enlivening life energy created by God in all things. This however, as a created reality, is not the Holy Spirit, who is sometimes metaphorically imaged as the “breath of God” but who is not contained by or limited to prana. Nevertheless, the natural association of breath with our life force can remind us of God’s life-giving spirit/breath as well as symbolize for us the indwelling divine Holy Spirit.
The Tantra I practice has nothing to do with religion or faith; it is pure technique
"The idea of breath focus is ancient and keeps your mind away from other thoughts. The main idea is the thinking that breath out is death and breath in is life. When the infant is born the first thing he/she does is a breath in (as in the womb lung functions are not needed) and the last thing we do as human is, one last breath out...meditation on breath takes an active form of realization of that! Keep thinking that and then hold your breath a little...then time stops and you are in limbo. If you are fully aware of this in-between state, the mystical fraction of the minute of no breath, this is your answer. Shiva says, the bliss You do not need to look further.
I agree it is a technique only.
Also - it is just interesting how many faiths use it. (being faith independent).
Peace - John
What other, of the 112 techniques, do you practice? It is interesting the 'Turn' is mostly emphasized. The approach that is independent of Shaivism seems very appropriate. I appreciate your putting this up!
For those who have trouble reaching a stillness (due to rapid thoughts for various reasons), this might be a good starter.